Series: Game 2 of 3

Oakland leads 2-0 (as of 8/7)

Game 1: Tuesday, August 6
Oakland 9Final
Boston 1
Game 2: Wednesday, August 7
Oakland 3Final
Boston 2
Game 3: Thursday, August 8
Oakland 2Final
Boston 4

Athletics 3

(66-48, 30-24 away)

Red Sox 2

(65-47, 28-26 home)

    7:05 PM ET, August 7, 2002

    Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts 

    123456789 R H E
    OAK 000002100 3 - -
    BOS 000100010 2 - -

    W: A. Harang (4-2)

    L: J. Burkett (10-5)

    S: B. Koch (28)

    A's Long robs Ramirez of three-run homer in ninth

    BOSTON (AP) -- Terrence Long figures it was the best catch of his career. He wasn't getting any arguments from the team he robbed.

    Terrence Long

    Athletics center fielder Terrence Long, left, reaches into the bullpen and robs Manny Ramirez of a game-winning homer in the ninth.

    Oakland's center fielder raced to the right-center field fence, reached into the Boston bullpen and made a game-ending, backhanded catch that robbed Manny Ramirez of a three-run homer and preserved the Athletics' 3-2 win over the Red Sox on Wednesday night.

    "A little bit of surprise, and a little bit of luck,'' Long said. "Once I got close to the track, the ball was hit high enough that I was able to slow down in case I had to jump.''

    He didn't have to, but he couldn't avoid jubilant right fielder Jermaine Dye's tackle after the play

    "Somebody's got to tell him he's 6-feet-6, 220 pounds,'' Long said. "He can't be jumping on me like that.''

    Long's catch helped A's reliever Billy Koch escape a jam for the second straight inning.

    Koch walked Johnny Damon and allowed a single to Trot Nixon with one out in the ninth before striking out Nomar Garciaparra. Ramirez, who hit his 19th homer of the year leading off the fourth, then sent a drive that kept carrying.

    A security guard in the Red Sox bullpen had his arms raised in celebration before Long's catch gave Koch his 28th save in 33 chances.

    "I hit it good,'' Ramirez said. "I saw the film and it was out (of the field) but he made a hell of a catch. That's the way it is.''

    Koch then ran out to shallow center to give Long a grateful hug. Several other A's ran out to celebrate.

    "It was a great catch,'' said Boston bullpen coach Bob Kipper, who had a good view. "Number one, he gets to it. Number two, he catches it. Number three, he hangs on to it.''

    It ended a tense two innings for Oakland, now 58-0 in games it led in the ninth.

    With two outs in the eighth, Koch allowed a run-scoring single to Shea Hillenbrand. But with runners at first and third and two outs he retired Brian Daubach on a groundout to first.

    "Sometimes it takes him a few hitters to get his feet on the ground,'' Oakland manager Art Howe said.

    Dye hit a two-run homer and Aaron Harang (4-2) allowed one run and three hits in 5 2-3 innings and left with a 2-1 lead.

    But Dye's homer faded in importance compared with Long's catch.

    "That's about the best you can get,'' Dye said. "Bottom of the ninth inning, two outs, the game on the line and the No. 4 hitter up.''

    The Athletics' fourth straight win tied them with the Red Sox for second place in the AL wild-card race, 1½ games behind Anaheim.

    "We'll just brush it off,'' John Burkett (10-5) said of Boston's fourth loss in six games. "It was a great at-bat by Manny and Terrence Long basically threw it back in our face.''

    Dye's sixth-inning homer, his 12th of the year, followed a two-out error by third baseman Hillenbrand and made both runs unearned. The A's made it 3-1 in the seventh on a walk to Ramon Hernandez and singles by Scott Hatteberg and Miguel Tejada.

    Tejada, whose 24-game hitting streak ended Tuesday, went 1-for-5.

    Burkett rebounded from his worst start of the season when he allowed eight runs in 1 1/3 innings of a 19-7 loss at Texas. In his previous start, he pitched a four-hit shutout against Baltimore in his only complete game of the year.

    He pitched well Wednesday, allowing one earned run and six hits in 6 2/3 innings.

    But Harang, who had no decision in his previous five starts, was better. He allowed one runner in each of the first three innings on a single and two walks but none got past first base.

    In the fifth, with two outs and runners at first and second, he got Ramirez to ground into a forceout. In the seventh, Ricardo Rincon struck out Trot Nixon after Damon's two-out triple.

    Boston led 1-0 with two outs and no runners on in the top of the sixth. Then Eric Chavez reached on Hillenbrand's second error in two games and Dye followed with his homer.

    In the eighth, Koch replaced Chad Bradford after Ramirez's one-out single. Cliff Floyd struck out, but Jason Varitek walked and Ramirez scored on Hillenbrand's hard single that just eluded third baseman Chavez.

    Game notes

    Varitek went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and a walk. ... The A's were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and are just 8-for-49 in their last six games. ... Floyd went 0-for-3 with a walk and is 0-for-6 in two games at Fenway Park since Boston obtained him from Montreal last week. He was 7-for-13 in his other four games, all at Texas. ... CF Damon ran to deep right-center to catch Dye's second-inning drive, then raced in for a sliding catch on Hatteberg in the third. RF Nixon reached into the stands on the foul side of the right-field line to catch David Justice's fly ball in the sixth.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press